Do we hate the Nationals or not? I think (though I can't find it right now) that at some point I said that if the Nats offered Dunn a fair 3-year deal then I couldn't really hold it against them if they let Dunn walk. They offered him a 3-year deal. The question is - was it fair?
My guess is the Nats offered Dunn right around 30 million for 3 years. To me anything 30 mill and over is a reasonable offer, though 30 million would be on the low side. The Nats offer him one year less than he's asking for at the lowest price that would be considered fair in the market and they watch him reject the deal. There's nothing unusual about this so far. It's the type of deal that you open negotiations with if you're the team. The difference is that for the Nats, and this is just my guess, this deal is a negotiation ender as well.
They want Carlos Pena. They need Carlos Pena. I don't know why. Nobody really does. But there is a deep psychological yearning in Mike Rizzo that will only be satisfied when Carlos Pena buttons up his Washington jersey and runs out onto the field in Viera. However, they can't just dismiss Dunn because, well because he's really good at hitting and the fans love him. So they offer him this deal. A fair deal but just barely so. Now they can turn around and say to the fans "Hey, we tried" when actually they really didn't, and then move on to their real goal of signing Carlos Pena. (and if Dunn accepts this - well they got him at basically a discount for a year less than he was asking for. Hard to complain about that.) This is just a guess, but it certainly seems like the Nats and Dunn are parting ways and I can't see that happening if they tossed a 3 year deal worth over 40 million at Adam.
I'm not a betting man, but if I were I would put money on Dunn leaving, Pena coming, and Webb being signed by the Nats. That by itself I don't like, but I'm going to give Rizzo the benefit of the doubt until the offseason is over. His love of Pena over Dunn may confuse us, just like it made no sense why Alex P Keaton would let Marty help break up his relationship with Lauren*, but if he makes the necessary moves this offseason to make up for the loss of offense, while improving the team in pitching and defense then it would ultimately be good for the Nationals. Making a better team is what matters in judging a GM, not making a better team the way I would build it.
*seriously - Jane Adams over Courtney Cox? You expect us to buy what you're selling Family Ties writers? I know you had to rush out the end of the last season but please. And then there's that whole last episode...